First wine and food fest slated for this weekend

06/24/2010 12:00 AM |

Eat. Drink. Local.

That is the theme of the first-annual The Long Island Wine and Food Festival to take place at locations all across the North Fork this weekend.

The event, sponsored by the Long Island Wine Council, kicks off with a reception tomorrow, Friday, at Roanoke Vineyards in Riverhead from 7 to 10 p.m. Tom Schaudel, chef at A Mano Osteria in Mattituck, will prepare dishes featuring locally grown food. Danny Gagnon, a native of New Hyde Park and a top contestant on Bravo’s reality show Top Chef, will make an appearance.

Steve Bate, president of the Long Island Wine Council, said that the festival is a way to draw tourists to the North Fork’s Wine Country during one of the slower weekends of the season, just before the 4th of July holiday weekend.

“The concept was built around the success we’ve had with some of the other promotions we’ve done,” he said, referring to highly successful events such as the Winterfest and Jazz on the Vine, which took place in February. “It’s sort of a kickoff to the summer before things really pick up.”

On Saturday, wineries from Bedell in Cutchogue to Palmer Vineyards in Riverhead will be displaying art from local artists and some will feature live music. The weekend ends with a “grand tasting” at Mitchell Park in Greenport on Sunday, with wine and food from more than 50 local wineries and restaurants.

“This is really just a celebration of our unique region and an opportunity for visitors to learn about local flavors, sights and sounds,” Mr. Bate said.